I just walked in from hanging with some great guys over at Saddleback. Steve K hosts a step father’s breakfast once every three months and he asked me to come talk about the film. I reluctantly agreed. My reluctance is not based on anything other than the fact that I am much more comfortable behind the scenes…anyway, so I drive down there for the 7:30 breakfast. Why is everything so early? Not that 7:30 is that early but it sure feels early on a Saturday morning. Steve’s wife Deanna has been a super good friend to my wife Shannon for a while now and I am now getting to know Steve. He is a great guy and super good leader…class instructor, small groups, breakfasts…I am guessing he is a good leader at whatever type of event he is asked or feels lead to lead. The breakfast was small and intimate and with some great guys.
I shared about the film project and Chris and Denise and Brent and the church etc…all is well until I start telling the story of little Kamlesh. The 6 or 7 year old little girl who I shot an interview with on one of my trips to India. She and her pregnant mother were walking down a path to use the restroom in their village and 4 high school/college age kids who were uppercaste didn’t like it so they threw Kamlesh into a smoldering fire [they burn their brush etc]. When her mother tried to help her they beat her unconscious. As I was telling this, I was taken with emotion and right there in front of these guys I had only just met a few minutes earlier, I started to cry like a little baby! I remember thinking to myself THIS IS WHY I DON’T SPEAK IN PUBLIC! So to Steve and the guys, I apologize for being a baby. The emotion surprised me and I never did finish my story…so I will here and hope they find their way to this blog and get an answer to the question asked.
So the kids beat the mom unconscious and so Kamlesh can’t get out of the fire until she is burned over 60% of her body! Then when she is finally rescued she is taken to the local authorities who, because of her caste make her wait with third degree burns over 60% of her body, for 5 hours while they try to figure out what to do with her! Finally they decide she should go to the doctor. She does and they try to help but her father who is an illiterate farmer, can’t afford the medicine top put on her wounds to keep them moist so when I met her she is scared so badly that all she can do is itch her arms and legs. Since her father could not afford the medicine needed her arm healed in a bent at the elbow position. When I see her, she can’t straighten her arm. The scaring is horrible and she can only sit and fuss with it, itching both arms and her leg. We are told the authorities did nothing to the “kids” who thought it a good idea to beat up a 6 or 7 year old and her pregnant mother because Kamlesh is an untouchable so she doesn’t really matter. So the answer to the question that was asked is that most of the time especially when a Dalit is involved the authorities do nothing. Also most of the Dalits can not read and so have no idea what the police “report” if one is even brought out, says. Which is why most police just ignore the issues.
I called my wife on the way home and told her that I cried like a baby.., of course she said that was only because I have a ton of vested interest in these abused and beaten people…especially the kids. She is right about that. I feel compelled that we need to help these kids…kids like Kamlesh and Kavya who otherwise don’t have much of a chance.
I hope Steve can get his guys to read this so they can hear what I could not articulate earlier this morning. A good morning…besides me being a little girl and all… I think/hope we got some new fans over at a big church that is full of resources that God can and does use daily…if we were to team up and pool our talents and resources…imagine what we could do…like that Casting Crown’s song says…”what if the armies of the Lord, got up and dusted off their sword…”